What is Addiction?

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Addiction is a chronic, but treatable, brain disorder. People who are addicted cannot control their need for alcohol or drugs even in the face of negative health, social or legal consequences. This lack of control is the result of addiction-induced changes in the brain. Those changes, in turn, cause behavior changes.

Facts About Addiction

Over 5,500 deaths among Illinois residents each year, over 5% of all deaths, are directly or indirectly related to the use of alcohol and other drugs. The annual Illinois statewide economic costs associated with alcohol and drug mortality is in excess of $3.5 billion.

Addiction costs society billions of dollars every year from:

  • Work Absences
  • Jail time
  • Health Care
  • Crimes to support habit
  • Family therapy
  • Welfare Dollars

Symptoms of Addiction

  • Continued use of alcohol or other drugs despite the negative consequences.​
  • Tolerance to alcohol or other drugs by increasingly needing larger amounts to get high.
  • Craving or a strong need to use alcohol or other drugs despite the consequences.
  • Loss of control over the amount of alcohol or other drugs used or the time and place of use.
  • Physical dependence or withdrawal symptoms when alcohol or other drugs are stopped.

The information provided on this page has been adapted from the Illinois Department of Human Services. http://www.dhs.state.il.us

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